Australian PGA set for lucrative boost

AUSTRALIA'S success at the world's biggest tournaments will have a flow-on effect back on our shores, with this year's Australian PGA Championship to be the biggest and best - and richest - ever staged.

Its global footprint will be a potential 500 million viewers because, in a huge development for the competition, this year will be the first time it will be co-sanctioned by the European Tour.

That means fans of the event - to be played at the RACV Royal Pines Resort from December 3-6 - can be guaranteed to see some of the world's best players.

The prize fund has almost doubled, up from $1 million to $1.75 million, with the winner to take home $315,000.

And the victor - as a result of the European Tour co-sanctioning agreement - will be granted exemption into the 2016 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the 2016 BMW PGA Championship, at The Wentworth Club in the UK.

The winner will compete for the total of A$19.5 million in prizemoney up for grabs at those events.

It will be the first time the Australian PGA winner will receive an automatic invitation to the BMW PGA Championship.

PGA of Australia chief executive officer Brian Thorburn said Australia's global success put the sport in a strong position, to not only attract some of the world's best for this tournament, but also for future competitions Down Under.

"Look at the results from the US Open - we had two Queenslanders (Adam Scott and Cameron Smith) finish in the top seven, and six Australians made the cut," Thorburn told APN.

"It's not just the experienced guys like Geoff Ogilvy and John Senden we're relying on now, or even Adam Scott or Jason Day.

"We are seeing the likes of exciting youngsters such as Cameron Smith come through and guys like Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones are also going very well."

Thorburn made no guarantee 2013 US Masters champion Scott would return for another PGA Championship - which he won in 2013.

But he said the scheduling - as well as the lucrative prizemoney on offer - would also help attract some of the world's best.

Thorburn said the full field for the Australian PGA Championship would be revealed later this year and added: "We're expecting up to 60 European and South African players to come out for this - the quality of the players will be very strong.

"It's only one week after the Australian Open (where US Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth fired a final-round course record of 63 to win last year), so the scheduling is great.

"It's all very exciting - the Australian PGA Championship has received a new breath of life."



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